TALENTED artists from Dorset have been shortlisted for a £15,000 national art prize.

Works by Ruth Holt from Dorchester and Anne McNeil from Blandford have been selected for this year’s prestigious Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize.

It is the UK’s leading competition for contemporary British representational and figurative painting and drawing.

Ruth and Anne are two of 80 artists that have been shortlisted out of 1100 who entered this year’s competition. It is the highest level of entries in the prize’s 12 year history.

Ruth, who was shortlisted for her painting ‘Concentration’, said: “I am delighted to have been shortlisted for the prize exhibition, and feel honoured to have had my work selected by a panel of such distinguished artists. I come from an artistic household and had a passion for drawing from an early age. I always felt the need to paint and draw. Portraiture is an area that fascinates me.”

Both artists works will be exhibited at the Mall Galleries in London from March 6 to 18. The eventual winners will be selected from these works and announced on March 6 at an evening event at gallery.

Anne, who was shortlisted for her painting ‘Ama’, said: “I am honoured to have been selected for prestigious prize. It is exciting to have my work included in the exhibition.

“My painting is part of a body of work inspired by thinking about memory as a dynamic and creative process, that underpins who we are now and leads to our experience of the contemporary.

“The paintings reflect on autobiographical and emotional memory, considering themes of intimacy, unity and isolation in human relationships. The images show representations of people but they are not painted as portraits, rather as metaphors for the memory of a feeling.”

Created in 2005 by The Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers and The Lynn Foundation, the open competition continues to champion the skill of draughtsmanship and figurative painting. Judges for the 2017 competition include Daphne Todd, artist and presenter of the BBC TV’s Big Painting Challenge.

Ian Rowley, chairman of the organising committee, said: “We’re delighted by this very positive response to the prize.

“At a time when British representational art is in danger of losing its way and being ignored by much of the art establishment, this shows the tremendous desire among artists to capture and shed light upon the real world.”